(Just because we were talking about wallowing earlier in class.)
“Writers wallow in words like pigs in a mud puddle, and the dirtier we get, the happier we are.”
Yes, exactly.

excerpted from Rule #101 from Robert Masello’s Robert’s Rules of Writing: 101 Unconventional Lessons Every Writer Needs to Know.

Presentation on Digital Storytelling

I attended a presentation on digital storytelling at the Abilene Writer’s Guild two years ago now. The speaker was teaching a class on Technology as Spirit and discussions of digital storytelling was part of that.

John Weaver introduced the StoryCenter out of Berkeley, CA. They have run several seminars on digital storytelling at Abilene Christian University.

Weaver then presented a theory pyramid showing engagement with technology’s progression for digital storytelling. It is called the Taxonomy of Media Practices

Consumption (bottom of the pyramid)
Constructed in Content
Media Creation (The top layer said DIY, but I think that is too broad.)

Weaver also presented the 7 Steps of Digital Storytelling:
1. owning your insight
2. owning your emotion
3. finding a moment of change
4. see the story
5. hear the story
6. assemble the story
7. share the story

I am not sure about “owning insight” and “owning emotion” being first. How can you have an insight if you haven’t thought about your story? But these steps don’t decide on the story until step 3, finding a moment of change.

Weaver said that the StoryCenter has a progressive (i.e., liberal) political and social agenda. This is why, he argues, they focus on change.

Could it instead be that most stories involve movement and change? Characters are dynamic, the plot moves, often even the setting varies.

This is an interesting order for steps as the primary construction of the story begins with images, so that the emphasis is on the visual.

Then, after the visual is assembled, the verbal/aural is created.

Weaver presented an odd description of share the story as he said after the story is assembled (after the video is created) that you consider your audience and the context in which the story will be shared. This is theoretically inaccurate and leaves the story as a wholly author-driven construct, which may not be understood by the audience eventually chosen to receive the story.

Black Widow and the Marvel Girls quantitative study

In 2015 I attended a talk by Heather M. Porter, whose real job is/was producing reality shows in LA.

The talk she gave looked at 9 of 10 movies, not Hulk, which featured Black Widow.

Black Widow basics:
First appeared in 1964
Joined Avengers in 1966
8 issues of own comic in 1970s
appearances in other comics until 2010…
In Iron Man 2 in 2010
Relaunched series in 2010
Action figures
Solo movie

Bechdel test
Had to appear in 2 of the films
Bechdel test (2 named female characters, talk to each other, not about a man)
Avengers doesn’t pass.

Many films that pass with poor depictions of women.
Major issue of this test is that it only requires small changes.
Fails to look at bigger issues.

Complete female character
Named, speaking character
Has a back story
Has a personality and skills that define them beyond their looks
Has agency
Has flaws
Has audience relate-ability

Black Widow character development
Spy from childhood, originally Russian KGB
Many espionage skills
Out to make amends for her past
Dark past and is cocky
Can be vulnerable, cares for her team members

Quantity is also important
Screen Time –how long on screen
Scenes—how many scenes appeared in

Black Widow 21% of Iron Man2
Avengers 27%
other 29%

Women in each movie
27%, 38%, 49%, 35%, 41% 26%, 58%, 40%
(through the different movies)

trend of increasing complete female characters
Black Widow carries through most movies.
Not a lot of characters carry through.
Phase Three shows promise of more of these characters with Captain Marvel movie on the slate.

Domestically only $3B

19th movie before woman lead
Black Widow won’t have her own.

Gina Davis Disparity
29% of speaking roles in all movies
2.42 men = 1 woman

Heather M. Porter now has a chapter published in Marvel’s Black Widow: From Spy to Superhero edited by Sherry Ginn. Here is a link to the Kindle version.

Visual Rhetoric of Comics and Graphic Novels: Relevant Posts

Since I am teaching the Visual Rhetoric of Comics this fall for an Honors Colloquium, I thought I would see what posts I have on TCE. There are quite a few, but not as many as I thought.

On Comics and Graphic Novels:
Visual Rhetoric and Comics Honors Colloquium
What I plan to do with this course.

Teaching Comics as Visual Rhetoric
Link to a dissertation on the topic with relevant work identified by section.

Trends in Teaching Composition Conference 2015 notes on Teaching Comics
I have some fun beginning activities from Lauryn Angel’s presentation.

Mental Health and Comics Workshop
I attended this at Nine Worlds in 2014.

MLA notes on “Why Comics Are and Are Not Picture Books”

PCA Teaching Medieval Lit with Comics

9 Chickweed Lane
Comic I wasn’t familiar with that has a professor as a main character.

PCA Questions on Superheroes 2015

Visual Rhetoric, when I decided I should use Scott McCloud’s book

PCA 2011 Understanding Visual Rhetoric

PCA 2011 Women in Refrigerators

PCA 2011 Supertexts The Waste Land

General Visual Rhetoric Posts:
Benjamin Franklin and Visual Rhetoric

Defining Visual Rhetorics: Emerging Graphical Conventions
A post about a chapter in Defining Visual Rhetorics.

Defining Visual Rhetorics: History of the Visual
A post about a different chapter in Defining Visual Rhetorics.

Defining Visual Rhetorics: Images Construct Memory
A post about a different chapter in Defining Visual Rhetorics.

Defining Visual Rhetorics: Challenging the Visual/Verbal Divide
Notes on Words and Images, Words AS Images, Words over Images, and material practices.

Defining Visual Rhetorics: Rhetoric of Visual Arguments

Says visual arguments can have the same fallacies as verbal arguments: vagueness and equivocation (1002 of 6169).

“[M]ost communications that are candidates for visual arguments are combinations of the verbal and the visual” (1065 of 6169).

“Visual images can thus be used to convey a narrative in a short time” (1106 of 6169).

“visual arguments supply simple, minimalist support” (1131 of 6169)

Defining Visual Rhetorics: Psychology of Rhetorical Images

There are more notes from chapters of Defining Visual Rhetorics that you can find by searching for Defining Visual Rhetorics, but most did not have anything relevant to the class I will be teaching.

Visual Rhetoric: Digital Writing
Since the students will be presenting a digital presentation, I thought this was relevant.

Visual Rhetoric Assignment(s)
Ideas for assignments from Rice in Rhetoric of Cool.

#FYCchat Visual Rhetoric Highlights
Lots of posts from a chat on first-year composition by FYC profs.

Visual Rhetoric, literally
A link to an American Heritage offer that lets you create a picture of you out of your words.

FYC Visual Rhetoric Paper
Long quote and short notes on a Scientific American article.

Visual Rhetoric Essay
How I introduced a visual rhetoric essay.

PCA Tech Comm and Visual Rhetoric
Notes on a panel at 2012 PCA.

Teaching Comics as Visual Rhetoric

There is a dissertation online called Sequential rhetoric: Teaching comics as visual rhetoric.

The first chapter talks about visual literacy barriers and writing about comics.

The literature review includes definitions of visual rhetoric and comics.

This might be a good resource for the Visual Rhetoric of Comics classes this fall.

Graduate Preliminary Syllabus: Visual Rhetoric

“When the visual and verbal dance in step, the power of each is magnified.” Kathleen Jamieson

Introduction to the Course
Aristotle defined rhetoric as the faculty of discovering in any given case the available means of persuasion. His inclusion of the phrase “available means” indicates that rhetoric includes modes beyond those of speech or writing, though most rhetorical scholarship and instruction has concentrated on these two modes. The study of rhetoric has always given some emphasis to visual modes through delivery (focusing on, for example, speaker’s looks, textual presentation, and use of visual aids) and style (“showing, not telling” and thereby creating images within the imagination of the audience). Eloquence also was sometimes conceptualized in visual terms, for example as “lively portraiture” (Augustine).

Communication technology advances provide new and more accessible means for creating and distributing visual images and artifacts, though the rhetorical impact remains an under-studied phenomenon. It is important to examine what rhetorical theory can offer to our understanding and interpretation of visual rhetoric.

Visual rhetoric encompasses graphic novels and comics, fashion, body art, cosplay, memorials, sculptures, icons, document design, art installations, political cartoons, and more. If you can see it, it can be understood and examined as visual rhetoric.

In this course, students will:
1. Develop an understanding of the concepts and methods used to rhetorically analyze and interpret visual images and artifacts.
2. Demonstrate ability to engage in rhetorical analysis of visual images and artifacts.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the rhetorical strategies employed in various primarily visual forms of ?communication including photography, visual art, advertising, and public commemorative activities.

Eisner, Will. Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist. W.W. Norton and Company, 2008.

Defining Visual Rhetorics. Edited by Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers, Routledge, 2004.

Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication. Edited by Carol David and Anne R. Richards, Parlor Press, 2008.

Artifacts: Bring in visual rhetoric that relates to (through agreement, through reference, or by contradicting) the readings for that class. Each student must do this at least once per semester.

Posts and Comments: Once a semester you will be asked to respond to the reading in a blog post. Everyone in the class will comment on this post.

Analysis: Choose an artifact and discuss its rhetorical significance twice in the semester—once as a paper (4-6 pages) and once as a digital presentation (5-7 minutes).

How to read a professor's door

from PhDComics

Gestures as Rhetoric

“Acts by the body can count more than words. Silent signals can register even louder than speech” (Humes 103).

Senator John McCain returned in April 2000 to the “Vietnam Hilton,” where he was once held prisoner. It is now a museum that parades pictures of happy and smiling prisoners. McCain pointed out one photograph of a grinning prisoner scratching his chin with only the middle finger of his hand. The prisoner’s face may have been smiling at his Vietcong captors, but his gesture conveyed to Americans an altogether different attitude. (Humes 102)

Humes, James C. Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln. Three Rivers Press.

Benjamin Franklin and Visual Rhetoric

Some fascinating tidbits from Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln by James C. Humes:

When he [Franklin] arrived in Versailles to become the American minister to France, he wanted to stand out among the bewigged members of King Louis XVI’s court, who were garbed in the silk and velvet fashions of the day. Franklin’s daughter Sally said, “Poppa, you must buy new clothes if you’re going to Versailles.”

Franklin answered, “I want to look more like a pioneer than a prince.”

So instead of silk, Franklin wore just plain American broadcloth and no wig. … At a time when the “natural man” of Rousseau was the philosophical rage, Franklin played the role of the New World “natural man” and inspired a coterie of groupies.

In 1783, at the time the peace treated that ended the American War for Independence was signed, Benjamin Franklin sported his slightly tattered brown Manchester greatcoat that buttoned from the neck to the knees. Fellow peace commissioner John Adams berated him for wearing such attire on this glorious day for Americans. Franklin replied:
Adams, I wore this coat on that day of the “Cockpit Trial,” prosecuted by that British Attorney General Wedderburn about ten years ago, and I want to give my old brown coat a little revenge.(Humes 15)